Ready for primetime players: Bulldogs blow out Southwest Minnesota State
Quarterback Ted Schlafke and the Minnesota Duluth football team didn't disappoint in their national television debut as the Bulldogs rolled to a 43-21 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference victory over Southwest Minnesota State before 4,460 spe...
Quarterback Ted Schlafke and the Minnesota Duluth football team didn't disappoint in their national television debut as the Bulldogs rolled to a 43-21 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference victory over Southwest Minnesota State before 4,460 spectators at Malosky Stadium, the Bulldogs' third straight blowout to start the season.
Schlakfe completed 12 of 15 passes for 177 yards and four touchdowns - about a TD for every four times he threw - and teammate Brad Foss ran 13 times for 113 yards and another score as the 15th ranked Bulldogs overpowered the Mustangs.
UMD (3-0) used two blocked punts, an efficient offense and a bend-but-don't-break defense to build a 26-0 lead after the first quarter. Southwest State (1-2) had more success moving the ball after the first quarter as the Bulldogs appeared to move into a preventive mode, but the Mustangs' drives, with the exception of a 10-yard TD pass just six seconds before the half, stalled out whenever they got deep into Bulldogs' territory as UMD led 29-7 at the break.
UMD continued to take advantage of great starting field position as they opened the second half at the Southwest 29-yard line after a botched onside kick. Four plays later, Schlafke connected with sophomore tight end Justin Neumann for a 7-yard TD catch, Neumann's first collegiate TD, to give UMD a 36-7 lead to all but put the game away.
Playing live before a CBS College Sports Network audience, UMD gave the partisan crowd something to cheer about during a longer-than-usual contest. With TV timeouts, the game lasted 3 hours and 10 minutes.
The fans also appeared impressed with UMD's $6.5 million stadium project, highlighted by a towering press box overlooking the field. The new facility gives television and other media members more space and has a floor devoted solely to UMD boosters and VIPs, but Bulldog Club member Dave Carlson of Duluth said everyone will benefit from improved amenities.
"My Grandma's outhouse was better than the bathrooms they used to have here," Carlson said. "This will be great for all fans, no matter what the level."